Page images
PDF
EPUB

XXIV.
But they, now having throughly heard and seen

All those great wrongs, the which that maid complain'd
To have been done against her Lady Queen,
By that proud Dame, which her so much disdain'd,
Were moved much thereat, and 'twixt them fain'd,
With all their force to work avengement strong
Upon the Souldan felf, which it maintain'd ;

And on his Lady, th' author of that wrong,
And upon all those Knights that did to her belong,

XXV.
But thinking best by counterfeit disguise,

To their design to make the easier way,
They did this complot ’twixt themselves devise ;
First that Sir Arthegal should him array,
Like one of those two Knights which dead there lay.
And then that Damzel, the sad Samient,
Should as his purchast prize with him convey

Unto the Souldans court, her to present
Unto his scornful Lady, that for her had sent.

XXVI.
So as they had deviz’d, Sir Arthegal

Him clad in th' armour of a Pagan Knight ;
And taking with him, as his vanquisht thrall,
That Damzel, led her to the Souldans right.
Where soon as his proud wife of her had light
(Forth of her window as the looking lay)
She weened straight it was her Paynim Kright;

Which brought that Damzel, as his purchaft prey ; And sent to him a Page that mote direct his way.

XXVII.
Who bringing them to their appointed place,

Offred his fervice to disarm the Knight;
But he refusing him to let unlace,
For doubt to be discover'd by his light,
Kept himself still in his strange armour dight.
Soon after whom, the Prince arrived there ;
And fending to the Souldan in despight

A bold dehance, did of him requere
That Damzel, whom he held as wrongful prisonere.

XXVIII.
Wherewith, the Souldan all with fury fraught,

Swearing, and banning most blasphemously,
Commanded straight his armour to be brought;
And mounting straight upon a charet high,
With iron wheels and hooks arm'd dreadfully,
And drawn of cruel steeds, which he had fed
With flesh of men, whom through fell tyranny

He Naughtred had, and ere they were half dead,
Their bodies to his beasts for provender did spread.

XXIX.
So forth he came all in a coat of plate,

Burnisht with bloody rust; whiles on the green
The Briton Prince him ready did await,
In gliftering arms right goodly well beseen,
That shone as bright, as doth the heaven sheen ;
And by his stirrup Talus did attend,
Playing his Pages part, as he had been

Before directed by his Lord; to th' end
He should his flail to final execution bend.

XXX.
Thus go they both together to their gear,

With like fierce minds, but meanings different:
For the proud Souldan with presumptuous chear,
And countenance sublime and insolent,
Sought only slaughter and avengement:
But the brave Prince for honour and for right,
Gainst tortious powre and lawless regiment,
In the behalf of wronged weak did fight :
More in his causes truch he trusted than in might.

XXXI.
Like to the Thracian tyrant, who they say

Unto his horses gave his guests for meat,
Till he him felf was made their greedy prey,
And torn in pieces by Acides great.
So thought the Souldan in his follies threat,
Either the Prince in pieces to have torne
With his sharp wheels in his first rages heat,

Or under his fierce horses feet have borne
And trampled down in dust his thoughts disdained scorn.

XXXII.
Bur the bold child that peril well espying,

If he too rashly to his charet drew,
Gave way unto his horses speedy flying,
And their resistless rigour did eschew.
Yet as he passed by, the Pagan threw
A shivering dart with so impetuous force,
That had he not it shun'd with heedful view,

It had himself transfixed, or his horse,
Or made them both one mafle withouten more remorse.

XXXIII.
Oft drew the Prince unto his charet nigh,

In hope some stroke to fasten on him near ;
But he was mounted in his seat so high,
And his wing-footed coursers him did bear
So faft away, that ere bis ready spear
He could advance, he far was gone and past.
Yet still he him did follow every where,

And follow'd was of him likewise full faft;
So long as in his steeds the flaming breath did last.

XXXIV.
Again the Pagan threw another dart,

Of which he had with him abundant store,
On every side of his embattled cart,
And of all other weapons less or more,
Which warlike uses had deviz'd of yore.
The wicked shaft guided through th' ayrie wide,
By some bad sprite, that it to mischief bore,

Srayd not till through his cuiras it did glide,
And made a griesly wound in his enriven side.

XXXV.
Much was he grieved with that hapless throe,

That open'd had the well-spring of his blood,
But much the more that to his

hateful foe
He mote not come, to wreak his wrathful mood.
That made him rave, like to a Lion wood,
Which being wounded of the huntsmans hand
Cannot come near him in the covert wood,

Where he with boughs hath built his shady stand, And fenc'd himself about with many a faming brand.

XXXVI.
Still when he fought t'approach unto him nigh,

His charet wheels about him whirled round,
And made him back again as fast to fly;
And eke his steeds, like to an hungry hound,
Thar hunting after game hath carrion found,
So cruelly did hin pursue and chace,
That his good steed, all were he much renown'd

For noble courage, and for hardy race,
Durst not endure their sight, but fled from place to place.

XXXVII.
Thus long they trac’d, and traverst to and fro,

Seeking by every way to make some breach :
Yet could the Prince not nigh unto him go,
That one sure stroke he might unto him reach,
Whereby his strengths assay he might him teach.
At last from his victorious shield he drew
The veil, which did his powreful light empeach;

And coming full before his horses view,
As they upon him prest, it plain to them did shew.

XXXVIII.
Like lightning flash, that hath the

gazer burn'd,
So did the fight thereof their sense dismay,
That back again upon themselves they turn'd,
And with their rider ran perforce away :
Ne could the Souldan them from flying stay,
With reins, or wonted rule, as well he knew.
Nought feared they, what he could do or say,

But th' only fear that was before their view;
From which like mazed Deer, dismayfully they few.

XXXIX.
Fast did they fly, as them their feet could bear,

High over hills, and lowly over dales,
As they were follow'd of their former fear.
In vain the Pagan banns, and swears, and rails,
And back with both his hands unto him hails
The refty reins, regarded now no more:
He to them calls and speaks, yet nought avails;

They hear him not, they have forgot his lore,
But go which way they list, their guide they have forlore.

[ocr errors]

XL.
As when the firy mouched steeds, which drew

The Suns bright wain to Phaetons decay,
Soon as they did the monstrous Scorpion view,
With ugly craples crawling in their way,
The dreadful light did them so sore affray,
That their well knowen courses they forwent;
And leading th' ever burning lamp astray,

This lower world nigh all to ashes brent,
And left their scorched path yet in the firmament.

XLI.
Such was the fury of these headstrong steeds,

Soon as the Infants sunlike shield they saw,
That all obedience both to words and deeds
They quite forgot and scorn'd all former law;
Through woods and rocks,and mountains they did draw
The iron charet, and the wheels did tear,
And cost the Paynim, without fear or awe ;

From side to side they toft him here and there,
Crying to them in vain, that n'ould his crying hear.

XLII.
Yet still the Prince pursu'd him close behind,

Oft making offer him to smite, but found
No eafie means according to his mind.
At last they have all overthrown to ground
Quite topside curvey, and the Pagan hound
Amongst the iron hooks and grapples keen,
Torn all to rags, and rent with many a wound :

That no whole piece of him was to be seen,
But scattred all about, and strow'd upon

the

green.

XLIII.
Like as the cursed Son of Theseus,

That following his chace in dewy morn,
To fly his stepdames love outrageous,
Of his own steeds was all to pieces torn,
And his fair limbs left in the woods forlorn ;
That for his fake Diana did lament,
And all the woody Nymphs did wail and mourn:

So was this Souldan rape and all to rent,
That of his shape appear'd no little monument.

« PreviousContinue »